Letter from George Sharland Cruwys to Frederick Stockdale
2nd January 1841
From the Stockdale Collection at The Devon and Exeter Institution, Exeter
Folio E, page 147
Frederick Wilton Litchfield STOCKDALE (1786-1858), antiquary and author, began writing to eminent West Country individuals in 1840 seeking information towards a history of Devon. A manuscript was prepared but the book was never published. His collection of papers, known as the Stockdale collection, is now owned by the Devon and Exeter Institution in Exeter. The following letter in the collection, written by George Sharland CRUWYS, was received by STOCKDALE in response to a letter he sent to the parish requesting information on the history of Cruwys Morchard. It is published by kind permission of the Devon and Exeter Institution.
George SHARLAND was born on 30th April 1802 in South Molton and baptised on 17th May 1802 in South Molton. He was the eldest surviving son of George SHARLAND and Harriet CRUWYS. He became Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard in 1831 after the death of his father on 14th February and assumed the name and arms of CRUWYS by Royal Licence on 9th November 1831. He was instituted as rector of Cruwys Morchard on 8th February 1835, having previously held the curacies of Loxbeare, Templeton and St Martin's, Exeter. He also served as a Justice of the Peace for the county of Devon. He married Mary Eliza RIDDELL on 28th October 1834 and they had three children. George Sharland CRUWYS died on 9th October 1874 and was buried at Cruwys Morchard on 15th October 1874.
I have received your letter in which you ask for particulars of my residence & family and in reply to it I beg to inform you that I am the present Lord of the Manor and incumbent and Patron of the living. The family of Cruwys date their origins to Richard Cruwys who it appears was the first Lord of the Manor in the reign of King John. Since that period the ancient mansion has undergone various alterations and in 1834 was repaired and embellished by myself retaining the style in which I found it (the Elizabethan) which it at that time presents. I think you mentioned in your former letter that you had some difficulty in ascertaining the arms. I therefore beg to refer you to the Herald's Office and for any further particulars to Prince's Worthies of Devon. I see in some extracts from "Lyson's Magna Britannica" that the Lord of this Manor had formerly the power of inflicting capital punishment. I have many manuscripts which I can show you if you deem it necessary when you visit Devon and you will have the goodness to let me know beforehand. I shall have much pleasure in seeing you here. The church was built in the year 1529 and was much injured by lightning in 1689 when the painted windows with the Arms of the family were destroyed. There are no monuments to the family in the Church. There was a chapel belonging to the house, the site of which is now in the churchyard surrounded by fir trees at a private ground in which the family have been buried. The Chapel belvedere was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell but large pieces of alabaster have at different times been dug out from the site so that it appears that many monuments to the family were destroyed there.
If you will allow me I shall be happy to take a plain copy of your book and to pay half the expense of engraving the House - a sketch of which I will either send to you or leave it until you visit Devonshire.
I am, Sir
George Sharland Cruwys
G. S. Cruwys
Cruwys Morchard House
2nd January 1841
The transcriber would like to thank Chris Gibbins who took great pains to photograph the letter at the Devon and Exeter Institution so that this transcription could be prepared.